The Cancer Society of New Zealand has welcomed the announcement by the National Party that, if elected, it will fund 13 vital cancer treatments, but hopes the funding will extend to infrastructure to support the move.
The 13 treatments were identified in a report from Te Ah O Te Kahu, the Cancer Control Agency, Understanding the Gap: an analysis of the availability of cancer medicines in Aotearoa, published last year.
“It is great to hear National’s plans to make a large, much-needed, investment into cancer,” said Cancer Society Medical Director Dr Kate Gregory. “A lot of people need these medicines now and can’t afford them. Accessing these medicines will help people with cancer live longer lives.”
Dr Gregory cautioned that the package would need to include funding for the associated infrastructure.
“There’s no use funding the medicines if there aren’t staff and space to administer them,” she said.
“We also need to ensure we don’t end up in this situation again. What’s needed is a fast-track assessment and funding system for life-saving medicines, that would help us keep pace with other countries.”